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Arising and Passing (A&P)

A&P knocked my socks off! Now, I have some questions.

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Hi all;

I just wanted to share some thoughts for beginers like myself who realze a&p.

I mentioned in another thread that I am untraied and that for the most part I don't have a teacher, (other than the dharma talks on my ipod). Basically I just got a strange feeling about three years ago and started to follow it. After a fair bit of noodeling around that feeling led to a head-on encounters with my own experience, and those encounters subsequantly led me here to Daniel's book and this community.

So, I am certain to quickly be robbed of the sense of pride that I have for more or less discovering the whole A&P aspect of impermanence all on my own. I just happened to be luckly that it presented itself in a way that I was able to notice it and stick with it until it was finnaly seen.

Here's what happened:

I was listening to a dharma talk, and the teacher quoted a poem which said something to the affect of "...at the end of every thought is a lotus flower" and I started to really look at that without the slightest idea of what it might mean.

After a few solid days of looking at it I noticed that there was somehow "love" in the passing of each thought I was having, something beautiful at the end of the thoughts. It was the love that I noticed first, and in a sense I think that noticing that aspect of it was what made it okay for a&p to finally be realized.

Interestingly when the realization took place I was just at that moment having a desperate thought "I WANT NIRVANA" and as I watched the thought it arrose and passed; which then led to the thought "hey, that last thought got it's wish, it wanted Nirvana and that's exactly what it got" ...again I watched and that next thought followed the same trajectory.

I wondered about the other five senses; I pushed my finger into the ground and pulled it away, and to my surprise that senseation did the same thing as the thoughts: a&p. I then blinked my eyes slowly and experienced that the objects I was viewing did the same thing too. I followed this examination process over and over and over [litterally for days] until I was completely satisfied that nothing I could experience would not a&p; as far as the world of the skhandas go, the nature of things to a&p is absolutely uncompromising. Wooooooah....

I'll tell ya, it was really really really really a shocker. For the bennifit of other newbys on the trail here's what I learned from the experience of realizing a&p + more advanced practioners please feel free to correct any assumptions I am making here:

1) Something can be right in front of your nose, occuring thousands times an hour, and yet it can go unnoticed.
2) The uncompromising nature of a&p makes it difficult to look at.
3) The a&p realization sometimes has to present itself in a certain way to make it okay to look at it.
4) Even the conceptual realization of impermanance is impermanent, and thus it is possible for a "realization" to exist within what is actually realized.
5) All things which arrise, whether they are noticed or not, pass.
6) Impermanence is completely immeadiate and experiencial, it is beyond all concepts.

And one last thing: probably the single biggest reason I missed a&p for so long isn't that I was afraid to look at it, rather, it elluded me for so long mostly because I thought I already knew what impermanence was. "Sure sure, I see, it's now summer and it used to be winter, it's all impermanent, yah yah" ... "I know, I'll die some day, I'm impermanent, yah yah" ;)

Now for a few questions I have for advanced practioners:

-If what I put forth is valid, do other key realizations follow any of the same criteria that I noted in my 6 - 7 items above? For example: are key realizations generally right infront of us but remain unseen? Are they often missed because we think we know them already, etc?

-Currently I experience a&p in terms of sensations, but as yet I do not experience things in terms of "vibrations" like I keep hearing about it Daniel's book. What is he talking about exactly?

-As per the "noting" process of a&p that Daniel speaks so highly about in his book; he strongly recommends giving names to a&p phenomena at a rate 5 per second. Is this practice as litteral as it sounds?

-I have gone to a lot of effort to be able to engender "no thought" during meditation. I am feeling a lot of resistance to "noting" because it seems to add thought. I can certainly notice a&p phenomena 5 per second, but to mentally assign a name to each sensation makes things seem very clamourous.

-In the "noting" process aren't the "notes" just MORE a&p? If so what purpose do the notes serve exactly?

-Experiencially a&p feels as if ALL things are born and destroyed, yet the Heart Sutra says all things are "not born, not destroyed", why?

Thanks in advance,
Mike.

RE: A&P knocked my socks off! Now, I have some questions.
Answer
9/20/09 10:46 AM as a reply to Mike John D.
Great write-up, I enjoyed reading it and agree with your general remarks and bullet points. Especially your note about ignoring impermanence by saying "Yeah, I know what impermanence is."

-If what I put forth is valid, do other key realizations follow any of the same criteria that I noted in my 6 - 7 items above? For example: are key realizations generally right infront of us but remain unseen? Are they often missed because we think we know them already, etc?


Yes, generally. As we are only toying with perception, perception is not something that can be observed while also in cessation. In other words, as long as you're perceiving, insights are available to be had at that very moment, always. So if there aren't insights happening, it is because perception is not being entirely understood at that moment. This may mean we don't know where to look, or how to look, or we're avoiding looking, or think we know something we don't and thus ignore what we needs to be looking at.

-Currently I experience a&p in terms of sensations, but as yet I do not experience things in terms of "vibrations" like I keep hearing about it Daniel's book. What is he talking about exactly?


There are several old threads you may be able to dig up by searching for them. They exhaustively talk about this.

-As per the "noting" process of a&p that Daniel speaks so highly about in his book; he strongly recommends giving names to a&p phenomena at a rate 5 per second. Is this practice as litteral as it sounds?


You generally want to note as quickly and "widely" as you possibly can, given that you are still accurately perceiving of each sensation as a distinct sensation. Thus, 5 per sec may seem fast or slow, but you're really just shooting for as many as possible. They quickly become uncountable, like reality is a TV screen with white noise on it. It is also important to note that speed is also not always what you're going for, and that the breadth of the sensations you're noting is sometimes much more important. In example, let's say you're in 4th Vipassana jhana, Equanimity. You may be noting what seems like 100 sensations a second everywhere you can find, but if you're missing a sensation such as peace, or spaciousness, then you may stagnate. The point is that the actual sensations being noted does matter in certain cases.

Further, as things speed up, you don't need to verbally note.Thus, you don't have to disrupt your "no thought" approach, though it is worth mentioning that thoughts are, in the buddhist sense of the term, not a problem. And thus, verbal notes are also note a problem, because, as you say, they are also just empty phenomena arising and passing away.

-Experiencially a&p feels as if ALL things are born and destroyed, yet the Heart Sutra says all things are "not born, not distroyed", why?

I believe that line of the sutra is capitalizing on the "untouchable, all encompassing aspect of Awareness," as seems common in Mahayana and Vajrayana literature. My personal opinion is that Awareness is a silly twist of one's overactive imagination, and that all things ARE born and destroyed, without any exception, including any perception of Awareness. This will almost assuredly impact your later practice, so I urge you to proceed with care, regardless of what opinion you arrive at.

Best,
Trent

RE: A&P knocked my socks off! Now, I have some questions.
Answer
9/22/09 3:40 AM as a reply to Mike John D.
Great descriptions.

1) The timeless truths are that obvious, though somehow seeing them is not always obvious. That all things arise and vanish rapidly and discontinuously, including all sensations we think are ourselves, is obvious and yet we miss it. That all things arise on their own causally is obvious and yet somehow we miss it. That all phenomena are simply aware where they are is that obvious, and yet we somehow miss it. Those things said, as these are so obvious, just noticing them again and again retrains us to see them as they obviously are, and that makes the difference.

2) As to noting 5/second, you have to strip the notes down to do that, such as something like "bip" or related notes, or just stay with sensations that fast, as noting is really designed to get you to bare sensations and when things get that fast it is hard to note that fast and it will slow you down, but you can try. The mind on hair trigger to note can really go fast with stripped down notes.

Keep going, see how things pan out, watch for what comes next, and be aware of the maps.

Daniel

RE: A&P knocked my socks off! Now, I have some questions.
Answer
9/22/09 6:45 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
"1) The timeless truths are that obvious, though somehow seeing them is not always obvious. That all things arise and vanish rapidly and discontinuously, including all sensations we think are ourselves, is obvious and yet we miss it. That all things arise on their own causally is obvious and yet somehow we miss it. That all phenomena are simply aware where they are is that obvious, and yet we somehow miss it. Those things said, as these are so obvious, just noticing them again and again retrains us to see them as they obviously are, and that makes the difference."

Man that is so simple and clear. No BS.